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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Mission and Vision


The Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) is an innovative learning community where faculty, staff, and students of diverse cultures and perspectives work collaboratively to foster academic excellence, social purpose, meaningful service, and personal fulfillment.

As a graduate school within a Christian university, GSEP endeavors to educate and motivate students to assume leadership roles in professions that improve and enrich the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

At GSEP we embrace human diversity—which we believe to be the natural expression of God's creation—in our work to advance learning and service. GSEP advances, sustains, and advocates for multicultural proficiency.

The strategies for accomplishing this mission are:

  • Promoting discourse that values each member's background, experiences, and perspective;
  • Recruiting, retaining, and advancing diverse students, staff, and faculty;
  • Developing curricular models for practice in educational and psychological environments; and reaching out to broader communities to promote understanding and facilitate solutions to diversity challenges.

Our spirit, energy, and actions will be an inspiration to education and psychology communities.

Vision:  Inspiration for Change

 A History of Academic Excellence

The Graduate School of Education and Psychology offers rigorous academic programs that prepare our students to serve as leaders in their communities, organizations, and businesses.

The graduate school works toward transforming students' lives through rigorous academic preparation in both the theory underlying their selected course of study and the practical knowledge applied to real-world settings. To best prepare students to serve as leaders in their communities, organizations, and businesses, GSEP leads by example and functions as a leading accredited institution in academic excellence, values-centered education, and technology.

Our faculty, as scholar-practitioners, continue to facilitate student learning and encourage the pursuit of truth in the classroom. A heightened responsibility is placed on the faculty's shoulders to lead rich intellectual discussions that allow each student to share from his or her experience and knowledge in a respectful and safe environment. We expect our students to be prepared to lead or serve in whatever venue they choose, and consequently do not limit our journey to one state or one community. Society is bigger than the one community with which we are familiar - it is a global collection of people, communities, businesses, and organizations. In order to fulfill our promise to our students, we must prepare them for this macro world of diverse philosophies and experiences. "You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note," wrote contemporary American author Doug Floyd. To make our academy one that fosters learning and leads to constructive ideas, we must do more than allow others to express their unique thoughts - we must promote and protect the vital process of dialogue.

 A Heritage of Faith

We celebrate our University's heritage of faith by drawing from our roots, which value the individual and place emphasis on the spiritual growth of each person.

This school was founded on Christian principles and will continue that course. The beauty of a firm foundation in principles that do not change with time or situations means that we always have a touchstone to turn to when difficulties or successes arise. It means that our course is steadfast and open to possibilities for growth. As the tumult of rains and lightning beat the ground, we are able to see the billowing clouds and the electric glimmer of light reflected from above. From a celestial vantage point, it is clear how to navigate a storm, no matter how dark and threatening it may seem. In this same way, we turn to the all-knowing God for guidance on our journey. From above, we are also able to see that we are not alone in this storm, but are surrounded by others' faces, hearts, and minds. As such, we honor this spiritual diversity by openly welcoming diverse individuals into our community and encouraging them along their journeys. This ecumenical pursuit promotes a spirit of friendship built on each individual's rich spiritual contributions.

 Enriching the Student Experience

Our focus is on providing an experience that inspires our students to serve, change, and improve our communities.

From their first day at any of our graduate campuses, our students are able to witness the rich environment provided by our school's value and spiritual commitments. This institution is laying out the framework for lofty goals and is consistently putting forth the resources and dedication to make those goals a reality, all designed with one client in mind - the student/graduate. We offer our students and alumni a sense of community that is often forgotten within the context of graduate education. It is possible to prepare students for professional success and personal meaning, while also being available to comfort and encourage them throughout their academic pursuits. To educate the heart, as well as the mind, we employ faculty who are experts in their selected fields and have a passion for connecting with students on a personal level.

The Graduate School of Education and Psychology is recognized as an innovator in higher education and will continue to offer graduates a seamless transition from the classroom to the community, all the while challenging them to strive for ever higher standards of excellence.

 Committed to Diversity

With an open mind and heart we embrace the human spirit of multiple backgrounds and perspectives.

The Graduate School of Education and Psychology values the richness that results from a collection of contrasting and parallel thoughts, perspectives, and experiences. We value each member's contributions and we recruit, retain, and advance students, staff, and faculty who reflect the diverse communities we serve. In this way, our understanding of those differing communities is deepened and our purpose is further refined. In addition to our work within the school, we reach out to broader communities to promote understanding and facilitate solutions to diversity challenges. Extending this pursuit beyond the classroom brings our message to many doorsteps through sincere service to society.

 Partnering with our Community

We collaborate with our communities to enrich the quality of life of those served by our graduates.

As an integral part of their education at GSEP, students serve in clinics, classrooms, and organizations that provide them with critical hands-on learning. This supplement to their classroom studies also greatly benefits the clients, communities, and companies they serve. We have expanded the relationships we maintain with these institutions, refining these affiliations into something deeper - true partnerships. Bridging the gap between the academy and the profession enables us to better craft our curriculum and ensure that we serve others' specific needs. We are preparing students to influence the fields of education and mental health by becoming leaders in those professions. To become truly effective leaders, however, students must first understand their clients' needs. We strive to illustrate this leadership strategy by engaging in it ourselves, by designing a model that allows us to understand and support our partners' needs and goals.

Our students and community partners invest a great deal in us, and we joyfully invest the same energy and resources to make this place a meaningful part of their journeys.

Our Expressed Values

  • Student-centered learning
  • Scholar-practitioners
  • Communities of practice that foster lifelong learning
  • Academic freedom and shared governance
  • Quality educational programs that anticipate and proactively react to the marketplace
  • Innovation as a continuous part of the educational process
  • Balance between personal and professional lives
  • Integration of faith and learning
  • Social responsibility and justice
  • Integrity and ethical standards of conduct
  • A diverse culture that is compassionate, caring, and respectful for the dignity of all in the community